Post Op Care

Quality Care That Lasts


The majority of our patients say that the recovery period lasts only a few days. Your should take medicine as prescribed. The following tips will help speed your recovery.

  • Bite gently on the gauze pad periodically, and change pads as they become soaked with blood. Call our oral surgeon if you still have bleeding 24 hours after your surgery.
  • While your mouth is numb, be careful not to bite the inside of your cheek or lip, or your tongue.
  • Do not lie flat. This may prolong bleeding. Prop up your head with pillows.
  • Try using an ice pack on the outside of your cheek. Apply for 15 to 20 minutes at a time for the first 24 hours. You can use moist heat-such as a washcloth soaked in warm water and wrung out-for the following 2 or 3 days.
  • Relax after surgery. Physical activity may increase bleeding.
  • Eat soft foods, such as gelatin, pudding, or a thin soup. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as healing progresses.
  • Do not use a straw for the first few days. Sucking on a straw can loosen the blood clot and delay healing.
  • After the first day, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day to reduce swelling and relieve pain. You can make your own salt water by mixing 1 tsp (5 g) of salt in a medium-sized glass [8 fl oz (240 mL)] of warm water. Do not rinse hard. This can loosen the blood clot and delay healing.
  • Do not smoke for at least 24 hours after your surgery. The sucking motion can loosen the clot and delay healing. Also, smoking decreases the blood supply and can bring germs and contaminants to the surgery area.
  • Avoid rubbing the area with your tongue or touching it with your fingers.
  • Continue to brush your teeth and tongue carefully.
  • Our Oral Surgeon will remove the stitches after a few days, if needed.


  • Avoid any chewing on the side of the treated tooth until the numbness has completely worn off.
  • A temporary filling or crown is placed to protect the tooth between appointments.
  • Between appointments, it’s common (and not a problem) for a small portion of your temporary filling or crown to wear away or break off. If the entire filling falls out, or if a temporary crown comes off, please call our office so it can be replaced.
  • To protect the tooth and help keep your temporary in place:
    ·Avoid chewing sticky foods (especially gum).
    ·Avoid biting hard foods and hard substances, such as ice, fingernails and pencils. ·If possible, chew only on the opposite side of your mouth.
  • It’s normal to experience some discomfort for several days after a root canal therapy appointment, especially when chewing. It is not uncommon for a tooth to be uncomfortable or even exhibit a dull ache immediately after receiving root canal therapy. This should subside within a few days (or even weeks). Even if you were not experiencing any discomfort prior to treatment, it is normal for you to experience some degree of discomfort for a few days after. The tenderness is normal and is no cause for alarm.
  • To control discomfort, take pain medication as recommended by your dentist. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone.
  • If you were not prescribed a pain medication by us but are experiencing pain after your appointment, we recommend taking over the counter pain medication. We recommend ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin) or naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox). Should you experience discomfort that cannot be controlled with pain medications or should swelling develop, please call our office.
  • To further reduce pain and swelling, rinse three times a day with warm salt water; dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, then rinse, swish, and spit. It’s important to continue to brush and floss normally.
  • Usually, the last step after root canal treatment is the placement of a crown on the tooth. A crown covers and protects the tooth from breaking in the future. Unless otherwise noted by the dentist, it is critical to have a crown placed on your root canal therapy treated tooth as soon as possible.
  • Delay in obtaining final restoration (crown) may result in fracture and/or possible loss of the tooth.
  • If your bite feels uneven, you have persistent pain, or you have any other questions or concerns, please call our dental office. 


  • Bed Rest: If your procedure involved placing a dental implant(s), plan to rest for the remainder of the day with your head elevated about 30 degrees. Advance activity the next day, but take it easy; too much activity can increase swelling. If your procedure was for ‘Stage II’, you may resume normal activities.
  • Swelling/Bleeding: After placement of dental implants, some degree of bruising and/or swelling is to be expected. Maximum swelling occurs within 48 hours following surgery and may last for several days. Apply ice packs to the outside of your cheek(s) every 15-20 minutes for the first 24 hours.
  • Blood in your saliva is normal for the first day or two. Place pressure on the area with the gauze provided in your post op pack, or use a moist tea bag and gently apply pressure for 10-15 minutes. If bleeding continues or is heavy, please call our office.
  • If you are having upper implants placed, it is not unusual to have a nosebleed within the first few days following surgery. Should this occur, pack nostrils with the gauze provided, and relax with your head elevated. The bleeding should stop shortly.
  • Brushing/Rinsing: Brush your teeth as usual, keeping your mouth as clean as possible throughout your recovery. Avoid touching the bristles of your toothbrush to the area of surgery. Avoid water picks and electric tooth brushes for 2 weeks following surgery. The day after surgery, rinse with warm salt water twice a day. Avoid vigorous rinsing. If a prescription rinse has been ordered use as directed.
  • Leave partials or denture(s) out unless otherwise instructed or until the doctor reinserts it for you.
  • Prescriptions: You may begin taking medication after you have had fluids or something to eat. Take all prescribed medications as directed. The antibiotic must be taken until finished. DO NOT drive a car, operate machinery or drink alcoholic beverages while taking prescribed pain medications.
  • Stiches: The stiches used will dissolve in 7-10 days following surgery. It is not unusual for small pieces of sutures to come out prior to this time. If the sutures need to be removed, you will be notified, and an appointment will be made for you. Avoid playing with your implant or caps with your tongue.
  • Diet Tips: Avoid the area of surgery with chewing, as chewing on an implant can damage it. Drink plenty of fluids throughout your recovery to avoid dehydration. Continue with this diet until you are instructed otherwise. Avoid mobility at the site of the implant(s) until the healing phase is complete (2-6 months).
  • Full Implant Denture Patients: For the first few months following surgery, you will need to be on a soft diet where the implants were placed. Foods such as pudding, applesauce, scrambled eggs, soft flaky fish, pasta and casseroles are recommended. The soft diet can last as long as 2-6 months. Your surgeon will advise you regarding how long you need to continue the soft diet.
  • Partial Denture Patients: Chew foods only in the areas where you have natural teeth remaining. Do not chew hard food in the area of your implants for as long as 2-6 months. Our surgeon will advise you regarding how long you need to continue the soft diet.
  • Numbness: Due to the local anesthetic, there may be numbness in the surgery site that may last 6-8 hours.
  • Post-Operative Implant Hygiene: The first year following placement of your implant, oral hygiene maintenance will be required every 3 months to 6 months as directed by your dentist.

Other Important Information:

  • DO NOT smoke or use smokeless tobacco during your healing process. The tars and nicotine may delay healing or cause prolonged bleeding.
  • Bisphosphonate therapy (Fosamax, Boniva, etc.), has been shown to cause osteonecrosis of the jaws which may result in loss of your implant(s).
  • For Women Only: If you are using oral contraceptives, please note that antibiotics and other medication may interfere with their effectiveness.